Beware of Online Threats
As time has progressed, technology has as well. With these new technological developments, come new online threats. Staying informed is crucial, as merely knowing what potential dangers are on the web can help you deal with them properly.
Below are some of the threats plaguing the internet, as well as some of the first steps you can take to ensure the safety of both your device and your personal information.
- Trojans — Trojan software, a type of infectious malware (software used to damage computers), may infect a computer or smartphone device. Once installed, Trojans may have the ability to view browsing histories, login information, or even track your keystrokes as you type.
One way a Trojan can be installed is by disguising itself as a software update. These types of “fake” updates can be distinguished from a normal, safe update because they appear on-screen as a pop-up, and ask that you simply click to install, while legitimate software updates require you to go to your settings first, or set a time for installation.
- Spoofing — When an email, text message, or other digital correspondence is sent from a forged address, but appears to be from a trusted source. These messages may lead recipients to download a falsified program, or follow links that leave personal information vulnerable to theft.
- Phishing — Similar to “Spoofing,” Phishing emails disguised as being from “real” companies with fake links are sent to unsuspecting individuals, urging them to open them. These emails may ask for personal information, such as passwords or credit card details.
- Spyware and Adware — These types of software are able to transmit activity and information from a user’s laptop or smartphone to a hacker, who is able to track and monitor what you do while browsing.
- Viruses — Viruses are a type of software that a user is tricked into downloading. It has the ability to alter the way a computer operates, and can infect a device to steal information, or destroy it altogether.
- Keyloggers — Keyloggers are computer programs that are able to track your every stroke on a keyboard. They are used with the intent to steal important information or login credentials.
Please also see the “Is Your Computer Sick?” and “Beware of Online Pop-Ups!” articles on the Millbury Savings Bank website to review each of these topics in more detail
Here are a few easy steps you can take to make sure your computer, smartphone, and any personal information stored on these devices is protected and safe from online threats:
- Make certain that the websites you visit and applications you use are verified and legitimate. Do not visit questionable websites. Safe sites will almost always be noted by a green check mark on a search engine, or a padlock symbol on the site. These symbols mean that the site is protected by a Secure Socket Layer, known as an SSL (a program that ensures security through encryption of data), and are not “spoofed.”
- Most commonly, viruses and malicious software infect a computer or device through clicking on links within a faked email. Never click on links in emails that appear out-of-the-ordinary, or on pop-ups that ask you to update your computer or security software. Enable a pop-up blocker on your browser, and use your best judgement when visiting sites for the first time.
- Similarly, be wary on social media sites. Facebook and Twitter are open to threats from hackers. Tweets and posts offering free gifts as well as clickbait articles (internet content that attempts to capture attention and have users click on links) may include online threats.
- If you ever click on a spam link or encounter a virus, immediately close out of the application, ensure your security software is up-to-date, and bring your device to a tech center with specialists who may be able to help. Also be sure to alert your banker that your device and accounts could have been compromised, so that any necessary precautions can be taken to resolve the situation.
The bottom line: Use your best judgement when encountering these types of media to avoid being tricked.